The Ballon d'Or is the most prestigious individual award that a footballer can receive. It's an honour bestowed upon the best football player over a year. It has been won by many of the game's greatest names such as Johan Cruyff, Zinedine Zidane and Ronaldo Nazario.
Over the last 13 years, however, the award has been dominated by the two defining superstars of the 21st century – Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo. The duo have won the award eleven times amongst themselves.
Messi is currently the record-holder for the most number of Ballon d'Or awards, having won it six times.
Now as we approach the end of the Messi-Ronaldo era, here are five stars who can potentially win the Ballon d'Or in the coming years. The list includes both established and emerging stars of the game.
#5 Robert Lewandowski (Bayern Munich)
It's not a stretch to say that Robert Lewandowski should have won the Ballon d'Or last year, and that the ceremony being cancelled was a travesty. The Polish hitman, simply put, was the best player in the world in 2020.
Lewandowski finished the season with 47 goals in 55 appearances, and led Bayern Munich to the treble. Not winning the Ballon d'Or hasn't gone down well with the Pole, as he has come back this season with a vengeance.
Lewandowski has already plundered 23 goals in 18 appearances this season and is on course to outdo last season's performance.
With Bayern Munich dominating the Bundesliga and Champions League as usual, Robert Lewandowski should be the favourite to lift this year's Ballon d'Or.
#4 Eduardo Camavinga (Rennes)
Eduardo Camavinga had a breakthrough season last year and is quickly becoming one of the hottest properties in Europe. The Frenchman has already established himself as one of football's top prospects.
A move away from Rennes looks to be on the horizon for Camavinga, with Real Madrid interested in the 18-year old's signature. A move to Madrid would give Camavinga a chance to emulate his idol Zinedine Zidane and win the Ballon d'Or as well.
The French prodigy is built like Paul Pogba and has the technical prowess to be as good as Zidane. At only 18-years old, Camavinga is ready to dominate midfields for the next 15 years and will soon be a household name in world football.